Chinese dad who 'cannot afford sick daughter's treatment' prepares her for death by taking her to play in grave

Without regular blood transfusions and medication, thalassaemia can be life-threatening

Wednesday 28 June 2017 13:52 BST
Zhang Liyong with his two-year-old daughter Xinlei in the 'grave'
Zhang Liyong with his two-year-old daughter Xinlei in the 'grave' (Screenshot from Pear Video footage)

The family of a toddler with a serious blood disorder say they cannot afford to pay for essential treatment – so have dug her a grave for her to “adapt” to.

Zhang Xinlei, a two-year-old from rural China, was born with thalassaemia, a genetic condition that causes a lack of haemoglobin in the blood and can lead to severe tiredness and heart palpatations.

Without regular blood transfusions and medication, the disease can cause life-threatening organ damage.

Xinlei’s father Zhang Liyong, a 24-year-old who lives near the city of Neijiang in China’s south-western Sichuan province, said he had spent all his savings on medical treatment for his daughter, according to Chinese media.

In footage published by Pear Video, Mr Zhang lies down in the grave with Xinlei, while her mother Deng Min, pregnant with another child, sits close by.

China has three main health insurance schemes, for urban workers, other city-dwellers and a rural co-operative medical scheme, which covers 805 million people, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

But recent WHO research said China “faces great challenges in providing access to good quality health services and financial protection for patients”.

Mr Zhang said he had spent over 100,000 yuan (£11,490) on treatment for Xinlei, and had “borrowed money from many”, according to a translation by MailOnline.

The couple have decided to give up on treatment as they can borrow no more and instead are bringing her every day to play at the grave “where she will rest in peace”.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in